Spring cleaning season is almost here: It’s the time of year to clear the clutter, give the home a deep cleaning and get ready for spring and summer festivities. Granted, most of us need more than this annual event to keep our homes free of clutter and germs, but it gives us the push we need to tidy our homes.
The City of Portland wants to raise the recycling rate to 75 percent by 2015. Portlanders can help by using green services and making informed choices. If you don’t want to use a local company like Maid in Portland Eco-Friendly Cleaning, LLC, you can do the hard work yourself and still keep it eco-friendly.
Like many people, I tend to keep old rubber bands, plastic rings or anything craft-worthy, thinking I can use them to make the next Pinterest craft. But this year, I vow to organize my home and throw away things I don’t need. I plan to use the “three box” method of keep, toss, or store.
- Keep: Items I use regularly.
- Toss or Donate: Non-seasonal items with useful life that I haven’t used in six months or more.
- Store: Seasonal and sentimental items, but they’ll have to be important to me, especially if I have to rent a storage space.
This is an easy-to-use method that works for just about anyone.
Once you’ve finished the keep, toss, or store task, you’ll be ready to do some serious cleaning. The good news is that you can use readily available, inexpensive, environmentally safe products to get the job done. Not only will your house be sparking clean, you’ll feel like bragging about your green clean.
Method All-Purpose Natural Cleaner
Target’s brand Method all-purpose cleaner claims to be a natural surface cleaner with non-toxic, plant-based “powergreen” technology, and it delivers! I use this cleaner on my kitchen countertops, kitchen stove, and bathroom sink. With French lavender and cucumber melon scents, the product smells amazing and gets the job done. I’ve been able to clean syrup spills off the floor and juice stains from the countertops. This is a great multi-use product.
Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner
Clorox’s environmentally-friendly cleaner, Green Works, is free of harsh chemical fumes and doesn’t leave a filmy residue after use. According to the company website, Green Works is made with plant and mineral-based ingredients as well as naturally-derived biodegradable ingredients. It meets the stringent human and environmental health criteria of the EPA’s Design for the Environment program. This budget-friendly cleaner is one of my favorite go-to products.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
One of the most affordable options is to create your own green cleaner. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and club soda can all be used to clean almost anything. The “Queen of Clean,” Linda Cobb says these substances are just as effective at cleaning as the top name-brand products. Baking soda is a wonderful deodorizer and abrasive while white vinegar is great at cleaning up soap scum and mildew, Cobb says in her book “A Queen For All Seasons.” She also notes that lemon juice is a natural bleach and club soda works on spills and stains.
While your Spring Cleaning activities may not include everything listed here, you can rest assured that it is possible to be both clean and green as you prepare for the busy summer ahead.
Guest writer Brenda Lind is a part-time art therapist and freelance writer who loves DIY projects.